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"Diving In" to June 2022 with the Coral Chronicles


COMMUNITY IS THE DRIVING FORCE BEHIND CORALPALOOZA™

When we consider climate change and how it sculpts the landscape of our planet, it’s not uncommon for our thoughts to be met with a number of questions: How can we as a collective resist the enormous burden that climate change puts on our planet? What can we do to help? Can one individual make such a difference? Fortunately, answering these questions is what Coralpalooza™ is all about!

Divers from across the US join our Coral Crew for last year's Coralpalooza™ 2021 ©Coral Restoration Foundation™


Coralpalooza™ presents a unique opportunity for the general public to understand what we do here at CRF™ on a daily basis. Every year since its inception in 2015, Coralpalooza™ draws in divers from all over the world to help celebrate World Ocean Day. In 2019 CRF™ brought over 200 divers together to help outplant 1,068 individual coral fragments in just under 6 hours–that’s an incredible accomplishment for CRF™ as much as it is for our local community and our planet! To compare, CRF™ outplanted 32,300 corals in 2019, so achieving a full thousand corals in one day was immensely impactful. We absolutely need all the help we can get from our community!

For Coralpalooza™ 2019 over 200 volunteer divers returned 1,068 endangered corals to the wild in just one day! ©Coral Restoration Foundation™

Each year our coral community plays an integral role in making sure our local reef structures are healthy. This year CRF™ aimed to unite the restoration and conservation community by inviting 4 restoration organizations and 10 local conservation non-profits to collaborate for Coralpalooza™ 2022. It was set to be one of the most uplifting events for the coral community the Florida Keys has ever seen. The organizations could contribute both directly by bolstering coral restoration efforts, and indirectly by hosting free educational outreach booths on land.


Unfortunately Coralpalooza™ 2022 was interrupted by Tropical Storm Alex and the CRF™ team had to make the difficult decision to cancel one of our biggest and most impactful events of the year. Despite this setback our team is just as determined to unite our community behind our mission. We plan to reschedule Captain Coral’s Coralpalooza™ Science Spectacular and are already planning on making Coralpalooza™ Dive Day 2023 bigger than ever!

Coralpalooza™ 2023 first alert is open! Sign up and we will give you a 48-hour headstart when Dive Day registration opens!


This community collaboration extends far beyond contributions from organizations and reaches down to an individual level. Many of us are conscious about our carbon emissions, and attempt to reduce it in small, yet impactful ways; recycling, carpooling, and composting are just a few to name! While these methods are effective, no experience quite compares to building a reef with your own hands one coral at a time. How many people can say they have had the opportunity to return an endangered staghorn coral to the wild with their own hands? Coralpalooza™ is a wonderful way to get connected with your community, learn more about our local reefs, and help mother nature heal!

Tons of divers work together with CRF™ to return corals to the wild for Coralpalooza™ 2019. ©Alexander Neufeld/Coral Restoration Foundation™


It all comes back to our mission: At CRF™ we aim to protect, restore, and care for our reefs through restoration efforts and educational empowerment. Large scale massive action is required to save coral reefs. This means we need all hands on deck!

If you want to join the mission to save coral reefs, wether you are a dive operators, Florida Keys local, or just an ocean enthusiast join us for next year’s festivities for Coralpalooza™ 2023! Are you not SCUBA certified? No problem! You can still explore our beautiful corals from the surface as a snorkeler, or participate in land-based educational workshops! If you think you may be interested sign up for our Coralpalooza™ 2023 first alert and we will give you a 48-hour headstart when registration opens!

 

CAPTAIN CORAL'S SCAVENGER EXTRAVAGANZA AT ZOO MIAMI

The CRF™ Coral Crew had an absolute blast hosting Captain Coral’s Scavenger Extravaganza at Zoo Miami. Guests were greeted into the park by Captain Coral himself and issued a challenge…find and interact with all six educational activity booths within the zoo and be rewarded as an honorary member of his pirate crew!

Captain Coral greets two of his newly initiated crew members! ©Coral Restoration Foundation™


Coral Restoration Foundation™ crew members led these booths, educating guests about the importance of coral reefs with their own unique activities. Aidan and Jack manned the Coral Tree™ and outplant station, demonstrating to visitors how CRF™ raises and returns coral to the reef. Will and Natalie played Jenga with passing guests, learning a new fact about coral with every brick pulled. Wylie and Jason challenged people to spell “zooxanthellae”, teaching them all about the algae that is vital to the survival of many coral species. Beth and Stephanie helped visitors brush up on their coral identification skills with a mix and match activity. Lastly, guests at Sol and Jason’s booth got to spin the wheel of coral conservation trivia and Sierra used a card game to discuss the different stressors that a coral colony may face.

Upon leaving the zoo, participants that completed the scavenger hunt were rewarded with Captain Coral pirate eyepatches and became the newest members of Captain Coral’s Crew joining his quest to restore Florida’s coral Reef!

 

"Diving In" Editorial Interns


While Jason Mirstopoulos grew up in Westchester, NY, he would much rather consider the

ocean his home. Jason lead most of his life wanting to be near the sea where he could explore Earth’s oceans and learn about marine life. After graduating from Stony Brook University with a degree in marine sciences, Jason decided to delve into the field of coral reef ecology so as to contribute to global conservation efforts and aid in the preservation of our planet. When he’s not in the water, Jason spends most of his time bouldering, snowboarding, making music, and writing. Beyond anything else, Jason finds purpose in making our planet a better, safer, and more enjoyable place for all of its constituents.


Joe Ducker was born in Bristol, England but grew up in China and the United States. He

enjoys long boarding, skiing, camping, and volunteering. Coming from a family of divers, he has always had a love for the ocean and earned his first SCUBA certification at the age of 12. In May of 2021, he graduated from Stetson University with a degree in Digital Arts and Environmental Studies. While at Stetson he was the president of the SCUBA diving club and was able to explore many of the underwater wonders that Florida and the Caribbean Islands have to offer. After witnessing the devastation of reefs first-hand, he knew he wanted to be involved in preserving them however he could.

Inspired by great documentary films on ocean conservation, Joe created his own short documentary film about CRF™️. He did this as his senior project at Stetson to help spread awareness about the importance of coral conservation and restoration. While at CRF™️ he hopes to learn even more about coral conservation and is very excited to give back to the beautiful ocean that inspires him.


Coral Chronicles Editor

Madalen Howard (she/her) is CRF's Communications and Outreach Coordinator. Madalen comes to CRF™ via a winding road from the Tennessee hills, to the South Carolina low country, ending here in Florida’s Coral Reef. She earned her Bachelor's degree in Marine Biology and a Minor in Environmental Studies from the College of Charleston in 2016. Her experience ranges from field research to education, and communications.

Madalen spent the last 4 years as a Field Instructor and Social Media Strategist for MarineLab Environmental Education Center. Here she was able to study and teach marine ecology, while snorkeling through mangroves, seagrasses, and coral reefs every day. While at MarineLab she combined her education and research background, entered the world of communications, and developed MarineLab’s social media department from the ground up.


Throughout her life Madalen has had a skill connecting people with nature. With CRF™, she is excited to bring people into the world of coral restoration, creating inclusive pathways to scientific discovery.

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